Imagine a place where everyone is faster, everyone is smarter, everyone is better. A world where age is not a factor, where everyone is thin and beautiful, where no one suffers from pain and hardships.
And all of this could happen with a surgical operation or a simple pill. A near painless price to pay for perfection, right? Humans today already enhance various aspects of the natural human processes (for example, antidepressants improve mood and caffeine improves alertness). Why not improve intelligence as well?
In only 1964, Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, a Romanian scientist, constructed a “Smart” drug, also called a “cognitive enhancer”, that improves memory, learning, concentration, social skills, and a great deal more. As stated in “Nootropics are Changing the Way Americans Work and Think”, “Nootropics increase the brain’s supply of neurochemicals…[which] enhances focus and concentration and makes the brain more powerful.” These drugs have been used mostly in cases involving people with mental disorders. But according to Neuroscience, a larger number of “normal” people want to use these drugs to become smarter in their everyday lives.
But people with diseases such as depression physically need antidepressants. The article “Depression’s Chemical Imbalance Explained” discusses how patients with depression lack the appropriate amount of chemicals–such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine–that are needed for normal mood functions. These antidepressants help patients function normally–not enhance an already normal functioning part of their brain.
Ms. Batten, an AP Psychology teacher here at Leesville, teaches about the brain every day. She gave her thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of taking these “Smart” drugs.
“In theory, they should be able to help students who have had difficulty [learning] in the past and help them understand concepts to reach what their full potential might be,” she said. She also mentioned that the drug is playing with the brain’s natural chemistry.
Before scientists start distributing these “Smart” drugs, there are many factors to consider. Making these “Smart” drugs over-the-counter and available to everyone–for example, at a local Wal-Mart–can have negative repercussions.
There is already a divide between the rich and the poor, and distributing this drug to everyone would cause the divide to grow even larger. The rich would have plenty of money to buy the “Smart” drug, while those without much money won’t be able to afford it. The rich people would then be richer and smarter than the poor, which would make it much harder for the poor to find jobs and keep a living.
Even if these drugs were distributed to everyone–with no money factor involved–then nothing in the world would change. The “Smart” drug merely enhances a person’s intelligence level, so if everyone took it the world would still have uneven levels of intelligence, it’s just that each level of intelligence would grow smarter. If every single person on the planet became smarter, then technically everyone would merely be smarter than they were before.
So then if these drugs aren’t distributed to everyone, just who, exactly, would need a prescription drug to become smarter?
Perhaps it should be distributed to those with learning disabilities to help their cognitive thinking function normally. Or perhaps it should be given to people of lesser intelligence to give them the extra boost needed to raise them to the next level. Either that or given to those “smarter” people to better enhance their cognitive skills. If the smart became smarter, they could discover bigger and better inventions for society. But who decides which people are smart and which are not?
There are too many issues to constitute this drug viable to be distributed. Also, it doesn’t seem necessary to alter an already normal functioning part of the brain.
But there are more ways than one to improve the human existence. The book trilogy Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld, depicts a society where surgeries are performed to create perfection. This extensive surgery changes the patients’ bodies radically by enhancing their senses and creating stronger, faster, and leaner muscles.
The surgery would also change the patient’s brain chemistry, making each and every person in the society think, and act the same. This created their “perfect” society.
Imperfections are what make people human. If everyone was perfect–symmetrical, smart, sociable, strong, fast–then who would they be? Everyone would look, act and talk the same. There would be no individuality. A world of everyone the same is a world not lived.
The world works because everyone’s mind works differently, and because everyone has a different talent. Each person contributes something different to society, which helps the world go ‘round.
Humans were made a certain way for a reason. Drugs should only be used when a normal function is not working correctly; these drugs or surgeries should not be used to enhance an already normal-functioning part of the body, otherwise humans aren’t human anymore.